President Trump announced Monday the First Step Act had undone a policy of former President Bill Clinton that had "devastated" African Americans.
The First Step Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that looks to reform the criminal justice system, was signed into law in December. It passed the House 358-36 and the Senate by an 87-12 vote.
The act reverses sentencing provisions that were put in place in the 1990s during Clinton’s administration. Trump said those laws disproportionately affected the African American community, celebrating the First Step Act for undoing those provisions.
“Finally, the law rolls back provisions of the 1994 Clinton crime law that was so devastating to so many, and that disproportionately impacted the African American community,” Trump said at the 2019 Prison Reform Summit in the East Room. “Nobody believes how much, and now they understand it. In less than four months more than 500 people with unfair sentences have been released from prison and are free to begin a new life.”
Trump announced that thousands of inmates have already been enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs as part of the First Step Act.
“I’m thrilled to report that since I’ve signed the First Step Act, more than 16,000 inmates have already enrolled in drug treatment programs,” Trump told the crowd. “And my administration intends to fully fund and implement this historic law."
“It’s happening, and it’s happening fast, and it’s a lot for some people to understand,” the president said.